Likud is not really interested in forming a unity government, Blue and White Benny Gantz accused his rivals in a Facebook post on Friday.
Gantz, who has less than two weeks left before his deadline to form a government, said his party is now exploring options other than a unity coalition.
“Our first mission was and remains establishing a broad, liberal unity government,” Gantz wrote. “At the same time, we are examining other options to establish a government if negotiations with Likud do not come to fruition.”
As for the Likud, Gantz said: “I am concerned that Likud is not interested in reaching a real agreement as the election results require. The meaning of a unity government is not a government of the [right-wing] bloc with Blue and White, but a government made up of the two largest parties that were chosen by the public to lead the country, and then other parties will join based on the guidelines reached between Blue and White and Likud.”
Gantz said the 55-seat religious-Right bloc led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicates a lack of interest on the latter’s part in forming a government.
“It looks like Likud chairman Netanyahu has decided to drag Israel to elections for the third time,” he added. “This is a disaster for the country and I don’t understand how Netanyahu, who understands the serious implications of this move, can do this.”
Likud’s spokesman said Gantz is “using any excuse not to establish the government the citizens of Israel want: a national unity government…Gantz is dragging Israel to an unnecessary election while Israel needs a strong unity government facing Iran, which endangers our existence.”
He also accused Gantz of being unwilling to compromise, while saying Likud is willing to make concessions, but did not specify what they are.
One of the alternative options to a unity government with the Likud, which some in Blue and White considered, is a minority government with outside support from the Joint List.
However, it would require Yisrael Beytenu to be part of the deal, and they are highly unlikely to be willing to work with the Joint List.
In addition, Telem, the smallest of the three parties making up Blue and White, as well as some of Hosen, Gantz’s party within Blue and White, oppose such a move, as it would mean their government is propped up by votes from an anti-Zionist party.
On Thursday, Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu reached an agreement that, should Gantz form the government, the upcoming budget will increase minimum pensions to 70% of minimum wage, a Yisrael Beytenu campaign promise.